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View jtrz's profile

Shellac questions

by jtrz
posted 02-18-2018 12:31 AM


22 replies so far

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

4154 posts in 1090 days


#1 posted 02-18-2018 01:20 AM

A coat or two of dewaxed shellac will let you put poly on top of that. Old school varnish can go on pretty quickly, but with poly, you should give it at least overnight to cure unless you really slathered on the shellac. Nice thin coats of shellac should be gnat dry within 15 minutes.

For the plane tote, I’d go with a paste wax, but I’ve used beeswax, “soft wax” (a blend of wax and turpentine), and even canning paraffin wax.

I wax shellac after a couple hours. Again, thin coats of both shellac and wax.

Zinsser is a two-pound cut of shellac. I use a 2# cut when building a finish. I use a 1# cut for the first coat or two (so it soaks in more) and for the last coat. Thin a little of the zinsser with an equal amount of denatured alcohol, and use that as a thin top coat. It won’t build much, but it’ll soften and smooth out the coats you’re putting it on top of. It should be easier to get a good coat that way. I prefer wiping to brushing, but either will work. Light touch, thin coat.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

2483 posts in 2306 days


#2 posted 02-18-2018 01:53 AM

Try some real shellac. That stuff in the can is a poor example of how your work can benefit from shellac. I’ve used can shellac in areas that cannot be seen. like the back or inside of a cabinet that needs something. For areas that can be seen many many thinn coats that are barely noticeable.You want to see the wood not a finish.
This is the place I buy my shellac from http://www.shellacshack.com/

-- Aj

View jtrz's profile

jtrz

166 posts in 1681 days


#3 posted 02-18-2018 02:25 AM

I know the real stuff is better but for now I’ve got the zinsser so I am going to work with it until I have my shop more put together. Once I start producing some larger pieces I’m going to order some. I’m just using the zinsser on little things to get a feel for it. Out of the three arkansas stone bases the one I put the zinsser on looks the best. It will work for now

-- Jeff | Louisville, Ky

View bbasiaga's profile

bbasiaga

1243 posts in 2503 days


#4 posted 02-18-2018 02:58 AM

Zinsser is just fine. Don’t worry about it. Another trick is that you can get a rag wet with featured alcohol and rub out your bumps and drips. No sanding necessary. You may choose to sand after to get the smoothness you want, but unlike poly and varnish shellac can be repaired any time with alcohol.

Brian

-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View shipwright's profile

shipwright

8380 posts in 3306 days


#5 posted 02-18-2018 03:05 AM

Check out Taklon brushes. Good ones aren’t cheap but they lay shellac on so smoothly that you won’t believe it.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese! http://thecanadianschooloffrenchmarquetry.com/

View ArtMann's profile

ArtMann

1435 posts in 1324 days


#6 posted 02-18-2018 03:21 AM

The only wax I have ever used is Johnson’s Paste Wax. I never tried anything else because it always does just what I want it to. Like all waxes I know of, it provides very little protection against moisture and none against abrasion but it leaves the wood with a rich luster and it feels silky smooth. I have often used it over the top of well dried Watco Danish Oil. Neither shellac nor Danish oil provide much protection for the wood but I think the oil finish enhances the grain more effectively than shellac. The Waco brand has some varnish in it.

View jtrz's profile

jtrz

166 posts in 1681 days


#7 posted 02-18-2018 03:35 AM

I know wax isn’t going to protect anything just seems like a lot of people like a little for their plane totes.

As far the arkansas stone block made of poplar it was really just an opportunity to play with some shellac. Not being able to put poly over it was an oversight by me. The other two arkansas stones have some poly. On one I tried out some danish oil and put poly on top. The shellac stone looks the best and the one I put danish oil on I like the least but that is more the fault of that piece of poplar which has these super dark grain areas. The danish oil I think brought out the grain color more which is usually a good thing but not in this case. The shellac is great because it really evened out the different colors.

Alright, well I’m going to through some shellac on this rosewood tote. We will see how it turns out

Thanks

-- Jeff | Louisville, Ky

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

10859 posts in 1994 days


#8 posted 02-18-2018 06:37 AM

JPW is more about rust prevention. Paraffin or candle wax is usually used on plane soles.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

12905 posts in 2888 days


#9 posted 02-18-2018 06:42 AM

Pick one or the other, shellac or poly, there is no need for both.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View Sunstealer73's profile

Sunstealer73

192 posts in 2601 days


#10 posted 02-18-2018 03:41 PM

I do poly over shellac all the time. There’s no “need” for it, but the look is definitely enhanced by using both.

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

5540 posts in 2859 days


#11 posted 02-18-2018 04:13 PM

I realized after 2 coats that you aren’t supposed to put poly on top of shellac that has wax. Is there anything that offers a little protection that I can put on top of it?

Put a layer of Zinsser sealcoat over the shellac, It is dewaxed, then you can put poly over it.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5747 posts in 3001 days


#12 posted 02-18-2018 05:18 PM

The truth is that many times you won’t realize an adhesion problem with a urethane finish over waxy shellac. Most of us do not want to risk it so use dewaxed. It kinda sounds like you wouldn’t be too distressed if it does fail, so go ahead and try. The adhesion problem is related to the urethane resins, so you could use a non-poly varnish (like SW Fast Dry Oil Varnish which uses alkyd resins) and not worry at all.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View jtrz's profile

jtrz

166 posts in 1681 days


#13 posted 02-18-2018 05:23 PM


I do poly over shellac all the time. There s no “need” for it, but the look is definitely enhanced by using both.

- Sunstealer73


Pick one or the other, shellac or poly, there is no need for both.

- RickM

The poly would be to give the finish more protection than shellac alone, or am I wrong?


I realized after 2 coats that you aren’t supposed to put poly on top of shellac that has wax. Is there anything that offers a little protection that I can put on top of it? _

Put a layer of Zinsser sealcoat over the shellac, It is dewaxed, then you can put poly over it.

- bondogaposis

I wish i had picked up the sealcoat but I wasn’t familiar with it and thought it was just another sanding sealer or something. I didn’t realize it was dewaxed Shellac until later. The odd thing is that sealcoat isn’t available in either home depot or lowes anywhere near me. I think Menards carries it though.

-- Jeff | Louisville, Ky

View Sunstealer73's profile

Sunstealer73

192 posts in 2601 days


#14 posted 02-18-2018 05:29 PM

Yes, the poly gives you protection that you don’t get with Shellac alone. I will sometimes do Amber Shellac to give the wood some color, then dewaxed Sealcoat, then poly.

View jtrz's profile

jtrz

166 posts in 1681 days


#15 posted 02-18-2018 06:06 PM

That might be the thing to do.

-- Jeff | Louisville, Ky

View jtrz's profile

jtrz

166 posts in 1681 days


#16 posted 02-18-2018 06:18 PM

I put some shellac on my plane tote last night and it did exactly what I have been trying to avoid and that is turn almost black. I was expecting the shellace to lighten it or keep it the same color. I sanded it again this morning to remove and it lightened up a bit.

I had always assumed this was rosewood but it looks like walnut a bit. This is from my great grandfathers no. 5 made sometime around WWI and they all had rosewood I believe. You can see here that it was a dark red when i first got the plane.

It had some chips and needed to be reshaped in a few places so I thought it would be fun to refinish it but now matter how much I sand it it won’t get any lighter. Rosewood turns black with age so I guess that could be it.

No matter what I wipe it down with, mineral spirits, denatured alcohol all of them turn the tote almost black. only when it dries does it lighten up.

Is there some surface preparation step that I am missing here?

Any ideas on how I can get this to lighten up and bring the red back a bit? Here are a few more pics of it. Thanks

-- Jeff | Louisville, Ky

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

2483 posts in 2306 days


#17 posted 02-18-2018 06:48 PM

If you would have used real shellac flakes it wouldn’t have turned that ugly black color maybe.
We all know real cheese doesn’t come in a can that you squirt out on your sandwich or French fries.
Same goes with shellac.
Super blonde flakes should be something every woodworker has on stand by. Mixing up a small amount is a easy task.
I rest my case :)

-- Aj

View Sunstealer73's profile

Sunstealer73

192 posts in 2601 days


#18 posted 02-18-2018 08:41 PM

Anything you put on it will darken it most likely.

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

12905 posts in 2888 days


#19 posted 02-18-2018 09:22 PM



The poly would be to give the finish more protection than shellac alone, or am I wrong?
- jtrz

I know why, I used to do things like that too but I’ve learned that complicating the finishing process makes the finishing process more complicated. ;) And finishing is my least favorite part of building furniture. The only time you need to use shellac is when your surface has silicone or wax contamination. I’ve used shellac, lacquer, poly, oil varnish, wiping varnish, oil/varnish mixes, shellac/oil/alcohol mix, and tried combinations of those and what I’ve found is that just shellac does the job most of the time and is much easier than anything else. Shellac is a tough finish. I’ve used shellac on floors and it was just as durable as the same # of coats of hardware store floor varnish. But when the varnish wears out I have to remove the furniture, sand down to wood, vacuum, and refinish which takes days. When the shellac wears out I mop the floor and refinish. I don’t even have to do the entire floor, I can do one side then the other or I can just touch up the worn areas. That’s why my advice is pick one or the other.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

10859 posts in 1994 days


#20 posted 02-18-2018 10:04 PM

For knobs and totes I usually sand to 600g and just wax it.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View Planeman40's profile

Planeman40

1452 posts in 3269 days


#21 posted 02-18-2018 11:44 PM

First of all, that handle is walnut, not rosewood. Second, walnut is brown, never red of any shade. If you want a red coloring, use some mahogany stain. It will come out a brownish mahogany red. The other option is to tint the shellac with a dye like TransTint dye. If you tint the shellac, understand the color will increase in depth and intensity with every additional coat applied. Shellac, it comes in varying shades from honey yellow to reddish brown. Learn to mix your own. It is easy. I buy the button type shellac right off the tree with remnants of the lac bug, bits of bark, etc. in it. Just dump some in a glass jar and pour some alcohol in. Let it sit for a spell, then shake it up and let it sit some more. When all of the shellac is dissolved, strain it. I use a small wad of women’s nylon hose plugged into the tip of a paper funnel folded up from a square piece of typing paper with the tip cut off. Sometimes it is necessary to strain it twice if it needs it. After straining it, add more alcohol to get it to the consistency you want it. It is now ready to spray or brush on. Prepared shellac will go bad over time, so mix up only enough that you will use for about a year. The unmixed dry hard shellac buttons will last almost indefinitely.

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View jtrz's profile

jtrz

166 posts in 1681 days


#22 posted 02-19-2018 02:04 AM



First of all, that handle is walnut, not rosewood. Second, walnut is brown, never red of any shade.

- Planeman40

Yeah your right and of course walnut doesn’t come in red. I had initially thought that it was walnut when I first sanded the tote down. It had a rosewood stain on it when I rescued it from my grandfathers basement. But when I started researching the plane and read that planes from this era had rosewood and that rosewood gets darker with age I just figured a combo of age, grime and oil had darkened it up. Maybe it isn’t the first tote this plane has had.

Anyways, probably just wax this guy up and put it to work. Thanks

-- Jeff | Louisville, Ky

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